Monday, June 30, 2008


Director Cecilia Miniucchi's "Expired" is an exercise in romantic pathos of the darkest kind, exploring the human need for connection in the most desperate of situations.

Samantha Morton's Claire is the indie archetype idealist, a parking attendant who romanticizes the lives of parking violators as she lives vicariously through them, compensating for the empty existence she lives with her stroke afflicted mother, played by Teri Garr. Jason Patric's Jay, Claire's emotionally disturbed romantic foil, is anti-socially maladjusted, deriving pleasure from antagonized motorists and prurient proclivities.

Much of "Expired" plays not like a conventional romcom or dramedy of the highest order, but is more like watching a neglected child who continues to stick the fork in the socket; one who knows the painful outcome but prefers the anticipated pain and damage to complacency.

Morton and Patric make an interesting enough pair onscreen, with Morton's saccharine desperation matched by Patric's pathological aversion to intimacy. Yet while there are funny moments created by their lonely interactions, the repetitive nature of their hot and cold interplay can leave a lot to be desired.

"Expired" is dark, and unflinching in its willingness to make its audience squirm at the masochist nature of their pairing. At times, Morton's too sweet, too desperate, too pathetic and Patric's insecure misogynistic misanthrope can be too difficult to empathize with or stomach.

While it strives to be an indictment of the sometimes desperate qualities of love, it struggles to find a resounding resolution to the problem it posits.

If we are desperate for human connection to the point of settling for anything, even if that something denigrates us, and doesn't bring any real pleasure beyond the security of not being alone, is it worth it? Even as this film expires, one does not know.

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